Microsoft announces first free-to-play Xbox 360 game

Free-to-play games that generate revenue via microtransaction purchases are now common for PC and mobile phone gamers. However, the free-to-play concept has not gained much traction in the console game industry. That could be changing, however. This week, Microsoft announced that it would release the first Xbox 360 game that will use the free-to-play business model.

The company announced on its PlayXBLA.com web site that it will release Happy Wars later this year. The downloadable Xbox Live Arcade game is a multiplayer action title from developer Toylogic that features " ... exciting castle siege and magic spell battle action for madcap free-for-all battles in fantasy world settings."

The game will be free to download and play for Xbox 360 gamers who are subscribers to the Xbox Live Gold service. However, Microsoft adds that Happy Wars will let players " ...  buy lavishly rendered items at the Item Shop etc. for your character to flaunt your originality on the field of valor."

While this will be the first Xbox 360 game with this kind of microtransaction model, Sony has already released a few free-to-play games for the Playstation 3, including the first-person shooter No Man's Land earlier this year. Sony and developer CCP Games will also launch the highly anticipated sci-fi shooter Dust 514 as a free-to-play game later this year.

Source: PlayXBLA.com

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21 Comments

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F2P finally making a rise on consoles?

This should change a lot.

Now if only GFWL and the absurdly long delay on game/patch certification would die.

Go onto Back Page News to contribute this, knowing its not the true first F2P on XBL, I post it anyway. Hours later, mr. Callaham, finally picks up on it and adds it. Typical Callaham. Did you realize I hate your writing, at least you've lessened the copy/paste and your own spelling errors.. Neowin has NOT had REAL WRITERS in years...(people who actually care)..

Not the first free game in Xbox Live. There is some RPG which I forgot the name... Well it is "free" as in "Age of Empires" type of free. Like the first crack stone you might get for free

pmdci said,
Not the first free game in Xbox Live. There is some RPG which I forgot the name... Well it is "free" as in "Age of Empires" type of free. Like the first crack stone you might get for free

Named start with Crimson

Ricardo Dawkins said,

Named start with Crimson

You guys are thinking of Crimson Alliance,...while that game was technically released for "free" ..it was basically a really big demo and asked people to pay to unlock the game's full content..Happy Wars is being released for free but its business model is like Team Fortress 2 in that people can also pay for in-game cosmetic items that don't actually affect gameplay.

John Callaham said,

You guys are thinking of Crimson Alliance,...while that game was technically released for "free" ..it was basically a really big demo and asked people to pay to unlock the game's full content..Happy Wars is being released for free but its business model is like Team Fortress 2 in that people can also pay for in-game cosmetic items that don't actually affect gameplay.

Now Hexic HD is a free Xbox 360 game

Well the music sounds good, that's all.
How is this free to play? You NEED xbox gold, that's not ****ing free to play, it's over £50 a year...

n_K said,
How is this free to play? You NEED xbox gold, that's not ****ing free to play, it's over £50 a year...

Less emotion, more facts please... the RRP is something like £39.99 per year. Game currently sell it online for £29, and eBay lets you have it for less than £25 - or 50% less than you suggested...

Yes, it's still not free - but I imagine most people this will appeal to will have it anyway.

tickedon said,

Less emotion, more facts please... the RRP is something like £39.99 per year. Game currently sell it online for £29, and eBay lets you have it for less than £25 - or 50% less than you suggested...

Yes, it's still not free - but I imagine most people this will appeal to will have it anyway.

That price is of course if you pay for a full years subscription. For someone who pays month by month, it can be as much as £70 (£5.99pm), for people who pay every 3 month, it comes close to £59 (£14.99).

Not everyone wants to pay for a full years subscription, and for several months where they don't use the online functions of the xbox the gold service is wasted. So to call this a free to play game is stretching the imagination by far.

There ARE legitimate free to play games already.

Harms-Way: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410a70
Mars-Rover-Landing: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258480836
Hexic-HD: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d802584107d1
Doritos-Crash-Course: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410a71
Aegis-Wing (US Accounts only):http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d8025841083c

They are, from what I've played, full and free to play without the need for a xbox live gold subcription account. Actual free to play.

If we're taking into consideration that free2play means microtransations as well... there is
Crimson-Alliance: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410983
Family-Game-Night: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410981
Pinball-FX2: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410a23

All require small micro payments to unlock content.


If we're taking into consideration that free2play means microtransations as well... there is
Crimson-Alliance: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410983
Family-Game-Night: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410981
Pinball-FX2: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en...77fe-1000-9115-d80258410a23

All require small micro payments to unlock content.


Crimson Alliance is basically a really big demo and you pay at least $10 to unlock more content..not exactly a small microtransaction. Pinball PX 2 and Family Game Night offer DLC packs that are more like stand alone games than standard add-ons.

Happy Wars is being released for free but its business model is like Team Fortress 2 in that people can also pay for in-game cosmetic items that don't actually affect gameplay; not really DLC packs and not really unlocking new content such as maps and gameplay modes. It sound like these payments will be well below $5..or a true small microtransaction.

n_K said,
Well the music sounds good, that's all.
How is this free to play? You NEED xbox gold, that's not ****ing free to play, it's over £50 a year...

Yeah, and you have to buy the Xbox, too! And internet access, and a TV, and electrical service to power all of that! Free to Play my *ss!

If you want real Free to Play, try Kick the Can! :-)

DConnell said,

Yeah, and you have to buy the Xbox, too! And internet access, and a TV, and electrical service to power all of that! Free to Play my *ss!

If you want real Free to Play, try Kick the Can! :-)

Still have to have a can and someone has to buy that.

Hate em... Ive been playing age of empires online and so far I have payed double with these micro transaction games then I would a normal full game

togermano said,
Hate em... Ive been playing age of empires online and so far I have payed double with these micro transaction games then I would a normal full game

That's the whole idea of the f2p games.... by getting you to make all these small transactions you don't realize it actually costs more. That said if you are strong enough to resist and put in the time yourself it can be free.